[Editors Note: A huge thanks to Nole-Ando and CSI Nole for attending the Orlando booster function with Jimbo Fisher. His report follows as a special to Tomahawk Nation]
Jimbo Fisher visited Orlando tonight. Hopefully some of you were able to attend. I was fortunate enough to. Andrew Carter has already beaten me to the punch with a post tonight. The place was packed and standing room only by the time I got there, so it was difficult to write down any quotes (I'm sure AC will have them later though). I thought I would go ahead and paraphrase what I could and give my views on some things. There was quite a bit addressed, so if I (or someone else) don't cover a question you might have, go ahead and ask. It might have been asked. Fisher talked about every player (from what I can remember) on the two deep cart, and then some.
First, he came out swinging, telling jokes (pretty good ones too). These were almost Bowdenesque (some of them even about Bowden). I was surprised by this after hearing the comparisons between him and Bowden, when it comes to Booster meetings. My personal feelings: No problem there, he can hold his own.
He sounds happy with the MA's defense. He came out defending them. Almost as if he's read some bad things about them (can't imagine where though). When it comes to individual players, everyone received a fair amount of praise. Some more than others. Toshmon Stevens, Brandon Jenkins, and Marcus White had more. Pat Robinson was said to have the ability to be one of the best we've ever had.
He thinks Christian Ponder could be the best he's ever coached. He loves the intelligence of both Ponder and Manuel. He also had a story to illustrate Ponder's toughness. When talking about Ponder, he mentioned that at the end of the season, he didn't know how bad Ponder was hurt. He learned, after the fact, that Ponder had a crack in is lower back and a torn abdominal muscle. When asked why Ponder didn't tell him, he said "because you would have called me soft and to get back in the game."
Manuel's delivery has been changed. Before he was injured, alot of progress was made.
" The receivers? Well...." More below.
The OL is nasty. David Spurlock is the leader of the group and is the meanest. Datko is up to 290lbs, Sanders at 300lbs.
He's excited about Matt Dunham's return.
On Special Teams
We need a kicker, glad to have Hopkins. Powell has a very strong leg (one of the strongest he's seen), just needs consistency.
On Off-field Problems (ahem...receivers)
A couple of new programs have been installed to teach the team how to make the right decisions. First, there is a 12 week class they have to take during the summer, designed by some people who have grown up in rough areas (Compton was one example). There is also a "Big Brother" program now. This is a program where upperclassman and some highly regarded underclassman take a freshman under their wings and show them how to handle the off-field responsibilities that some with the football team.
Additionally, they have 100% of the team in summer school and set to attend the "discretionary" camps.
This covers what I thought were the most interesting parts of the night. Hopefully it answered some questions you guys might have had.
Report from CSINole:
Brandon Jenkins enrolled early and has done a tremendous job, along with Toshman Stevens. He also said to keep an eye out for Terrance Parks and Mister Alexander on D. Jimbo was also impressed by the play of Everette Dawkins on the D-line, whether its at DT or DE. One thing he said about Dawkins was his speed/quickness (considering he's around 250 lbs and smaller than most linemen) and holds his own on the D-line.
TE: he had some good things to say about Caz P. and Bo Reliford...
Other names/topics discussed were Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson, Avis Commack, Easterling, Surrency's appeal, Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones, Tavaris Pressleys status, our O-line as a squad, Hopkins/Powell, LB's (both Nigels), Kevin McNeil, Matt Dunham, Louis Givens seeing more playing time, Moses McCray fitting the mold of an NFL lineman right now and touched on recruiting.
I'm tired and hittin' the sack, I'll try and add a bit more tomorrow. Overall, the turn out was more than anyone expected (200+) and left everyone with an optimistic outlook on FSU and the future of the football program.